House Financial Services Committee chair Maxine Waters (D-California) may have finally found something she opposes more than President Donald Trump: Libra, the proposed new Facebook cryptocurrency she says threatens the dollar.
Waters is demanding that Facebook stop its cryptocurrency project at once, promising that regulators will move “aggressively” to deal with the issue. She told CNBC’s ‘Closing Bell’ on Thursday that she intended to put the new electronic medium of exchange under intense scrutiny.
“We’re going to move aggressively and very quickly to deal with what is going on with this new cryptocurrency,” Waters said. “I think it’s very important for them to stop right now what they’re doing so that we can get a handle on this.”
We’ve got to protect our consumers. We just can’t allow them to go to Switzerland with all of its associates and begin to compete with the dollar.
The congresswoman said a special regulatory body was needed to oversee social media firms like Facebook, and compared the company’s currency project to “starting a bank without having to go through any steps to do it.”
Earlier this week, Waters pilloried the Libra proposal, accusing Facebook of “continuing its unchecked expansion and extending its reach into the lives of its users.”
A number of other lawmakers, including Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, have called for regulation and expressed similar worries that Facebook had grown too powerful to be allowed to have its own currency.
Facebook rolled out its digital coin on Wednesday and says will allow users to transact across the globe at extremely low fees. The company intends to launch a subsidiary, Calibra, which will take over the crypto operation, though it remains unclear how the regulatory initiatives picking up momentum in both houses will affect those plans.
“We look forward to responding to lawmakers’ questions as this process moves forward,” a Facebook spokesperson told CNBC.